The announcement was made just before 1pm on Saturday afternoon – barely two hours before the game’s scheduled kick-off.
...ponement leaves only one Premier League match remaining from the six that were scheduled to take place on Saturday, with Leeds against Arsenal in the late kick-off – live on Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm – the only surviving fixture.
A Premier League statement said: “After reviewing all the new information provided by Aston Villa this morning and receiving separate medical advice, the board approved the request as a result of the club not having enough players to field a team.
“This decision was based on the number of Covid-19 cases, injuries and illness.
“The league understands the decision to postpone the match at such short notice will frustrate and disappoint supporters, and apologises for the inconvenience and disruption caused.
“The remaining four Premier League matches due to be played this weekend are currently scheduled to proceed as planned.”
Villa acknowledged and apologised for the late postponement, which came a little over two hours before the match was due to kick off, but insisted they acted as quickly as they could.
‘Attractive’ Arsenal proposal facing ruin, but PSG could yet solve Arteta’s striker conundrum
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is poised to scupper a deal that is perfect for Arsenal, though PSG could yet relieve Mikel Arteta of the troublesome forward.
The Gabon striker, 32, is facing an uncertain future in north London. Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy last month after reporting back from an authorised trip to France a day late. It was the latest in a succession of misdemeanours, with Arteta exiling Aubameyang from the first-team as a result.
The 32-year-old has not played the Arsenal since December 6. He travelled to Cameroon to take part in the AFCON with Gabon, but contracted Covid-19 before being sent home early.
Aubameyang is the Arsenal’s top earner and has 18 months remaining on his current deal. The Gunners are understood to be open to moving him on if they can, though his age and salary means realistic interest is restricted to a handful of cash-rich clubs.
Interest from Saudi Arabia had emerged with a reported loan-to-buy offer lodged. Aubameyang’s full wages would be paid by the Saudi side if agreed, making it the perfect exit plan for Arsenal.
However, according to the Mirror (citing the Athletic) Aubameyang is poised to scupper that proposed move.
They state Aubameyang does not wish to relocate to Saudi Arabia while still believing he can cut it elite level in Europe. The report adds that even if Arsenal accepted the proposal, Aubameyang is unlikely to agree to the switch.
However, all hope of shifting Aubameyang on does not rest entirely in Saudi Arabia. The Athletic declare PSG to be interested in acquiring the centre-forward on loan this month.
PSG among six Europeans courting Aubameyang
The prospect of moving to Paris would appeal more to Aubameyang. Though despite their vast wealth, they are reluctant to subsidise the entirety of his salary.
Whether a compromise can be reached, only time will tell. Though if they dally, an outside contender could chance their arm in the final stages on the winter window.
Juventus are a known admirer, while the Telegraph also put Barcelona, Sevilla, AC Milan and Marseille in the mix.
If no agreements can be reached, Mikel Arteta may be forced into a humbling U-turn, especially with Crystal Palace continuing to monitor Eddie Nketiah.
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Arsenal target €50m alternative as Vlahovic hopes crumble
Meanwhile, Arsenal are reportedly aiming to sign a €50million striker as the transfer of Dusan Vlahovic to the Emirates comes under threat.
Arsenal were making some headway over a deal earlier this month, although Vlahovic’s move is now set to collapse due to two reasons.
Italian outlet La Repubblica have gone on to hand Arsenal another major blow. They claim Vlahovic is holding out for a switch to Manchester City this summer. The Gunners clearly know their chances of signing Vlahovic are dwindling, forcing them to look at alternatives.
According to The Athletic reporter David Ornstein, they are setting their sights on Real Sociedad man Alexander Isak.
The Swede has long been on Arsenal’s radar, although he fell down their shortlist due to the Vlahovic chase.
While Vlahovic would cost upwards of £58m, 22-year-old Isak is available for €50m (£41.9m) according to Caught Offside.
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Arsenal Chiefs Will Sit Down Juventus Counterparts On Monday For Further Transfer Talks Over Arthur Melo
But there remains plenty of uncertainty surrounding the potential deal and Arthur’s behaviour towards Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri has made the situation unclear.
The Gunners have been pursuing the Brazil international for almost two weeks with Mikel Arteta keen to add a new face in midfield ahead of the second half of the season.
Arthur’s agent visited the club’s London Colney base last week and the 25-year-old is believed to be keen to be keen on the switch to the Emirates.
However, he has failed to directly communicate this to Allegri, so the deal is by no means finalised.
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That is according to TuttoMercatoWeb, which claims the details of the loan deal still need to be thrashed out by the two clubs.
Juve are said to be targeting an 18-month loan for the former Barcelona star and there is the possibility of an option to buy being included.
The report adds this structure would suit Arthur, as he desires long-term stability rather than a short-term stint in north London.
However, this is at odds with other updates from Italy which assert Juve will let the player depart on a six-month loan with an obligation to buy this summer.
Allegri, meanwhile, is said to be searching for a replacement for Arthur, with Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria and Lyon’s Bruno Guimaraes on his shortlist.
The Italian manager does not want to be left short in the centre of the park in the case of Arthur departing, even though he has only played a minor role in his side this season.
He came off the bench in Sunday’s goalless draw against AC Milan in Serie A, marking his ninth league appearance of the season.
Speaking ahead of the fixture, Allegri declared Arthur would not be going anywhere and reaffirmed his importance.
“This is our team and we’re not going to change anything,” the 54-year-old said. “Arthur’s part of the Brazil national team, he’s an important player.”
It remains to be seen whether Allegri will stick to his stance or allow Arthur to depart if Arsenal test his resolve with an attractive offer for the player.
An alternative target for the Gunners is believed to be Youri Tielemans and they reportedly held talks over a transfer for the Leicester City midfielder earlier this month.
The Belgium international, 24, has less than 18 months remaining on his contract at the King Power.